Mitch McConnell Is Set To Let Slip The Dogs Of Judicial Chaos

So, what happens next in the battle for Scalia’s seat? Does Obama offer an “olive branch” SCOTUS nominee to the Senate, a judge with a corporate lawyer background who would be friendly to big business and moderate on most social issues? A candidate who would be a shoo-in with a rational, thinking person’s Senate devoid of the partisan political ideology of its hack Republican Majority Leader would order his people to approve? Judge Sri Srinivasan’s name is currently being floated as just such a possibility. Would McConnell dare pull down his drawers, squat down and crap on Obama, the nominee and the Constitution, using his butt in the effort to make a power grab?

Or, just to play with McConnell’s head and to further publicly embarrass him, does Obama nominate someone who is a real, certified REAL Liberal like State AG Kamala Harris of CA, for instance?

Last thing: Turtle Man is about to let slip the dogs of judicial chaos. In a split 4-4 SCOTUS decision or if the justices refuse to hear a case, the lower court decision stands. In the federal court system there are 12 circuits, most of them dominated by Democrats. Of the 13 federal courts of appeal, 9 are controlled by Democrats and 4 are controlled by Republicans. So a Blue circuit court might determine that religious organizations must give their female employees access to contraception through their health plans while a Red circuit court will uphold the religious right (and membership therein) of the organization say “Nicht”.

Because of this attorneys on their own ideological missions shop the different circuits to find a case to bring to them which should result in the desired verdict. This colorful patchwork of legal opinions and ideologies among the circuit courts serves to resurrect the rootin’, tootin’, shootin’ days of the Old West where every town had its own laws and ordinances. So, in some cases you can in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco but you can’t in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in Louisiana’s three districts. But in both circuits same-sex marriage is protected by the Constitution. Go figure.

So, until McConnell is reduced to a quivering hulk of rebuked jelly by outrage of the American people—AKA voters—to accept and approve Obama’s SCOTUS nominee, chaos will reign among the lower federal courts. Voter ID, gun control, same sex marriage, the right to an abortion, etc., will vary from state to state instead of conforming to one, unified federal decision from SCOTUS establishing it as the (hopefully Liberal) law of the land–for now. That is until the next Republican president is handed SCOTUS vacancies and installs their own Scalia(s) to reverse as much of it as possible—again.

But until then, sit back with your favorite snack and beverage and watch the fight. Who knows how long it will last? And who will history determine was the heavyweight and which was the lightweight? My guess is that when public outrage against this latest game of brinkmanship by the Republicans reaches firestorm level, McConnell’s political weight won’t even register on the scale.

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Once Again The Senate Republicans Play The Shutdown Game

“The American people‎ should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.” – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

“Would be unprecedented in recent history for SCOTUS to go year with vacancy. And shameful abdication of our constitutional responsibility,” – Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid on Twitter.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/02/13/senate-unlikely-confirm-obama-supreme-court-nominee/80351274/#.

I predicted this would happen because the Repugnant-cons are entirely predictable in holding SCOTUS hostage, in effect, shutting it down for at least the next year and a half to play partisan politics, gambling that one of the Republican clowns inside the candidate car will find his way into the White House. If Bernie Sanders is elected president and McConnell loses his gamble, would he then try to go for double or nothing by extending the SCOTUS shutdown through 2018 hoping to add even more Republicans to Congress? Let would be his legacy going into 2020 when he will be up for reelection to the Senate.

Now, it is possible that the eight remaining justices will still hear cases already on the Court schedule. Some of the cases might be relatively easy for them to arrive at an unanimous decision, or at least 5-3. But an Affordable Care Act case where the ideological lines are drawn 4-4 with no swing votes to tip the decision one way or the other, well, what happens then? Kick it back down to a lower court for it to be kicked back up some time in the near or distant future when the Court is once again at full strength? How many other unheard cases would be sitting smack dab atop the Ideological Divide? This isn’t the Senate. You can’t bring in Joe Biden to cast the tie-breaking vote. This is what I mean by the Republicans shutting down SCOTUS because when it comes to those big, high profile cases concerning gun control or state anti-abortion laws and such, the justices will be able to decide nothing.

Mitch McConnell is claiming that a lame duck president doesn’t speak for the American people, therefore, Obama has no right to name a replacement for the not-so-dearly departed Antonin Scalia. What doesn’t McConnell understand about the Constitution? The one thing Scalia sometimes got right is that you don’t screw with certain sections of it. The president is elected to a four-year term, period. His power and authority are not diminished in his final year. Although Obama’s overall approval rating isn’t great, he still has enough support from these same American people–who voted him into office–to choose a replacement justice that the Senate Republicans should confirm.

But, that’s fine. This is an election year. Let the Republicans play their latest shutdown game again. President Obama and the Democrats should and hopefully will start a major media campaign urging the American people AKA voters to make it loud and clear that the Republicans don’t speak for THEM. That they already spoke for themselves when they reelected Obama president in 2012.

What’s Brewing In Arizona?

I am pessimistically optimistic about the Democrats gaining additional state and congressional states this year.  Take Arizona, please.  Gov. Jan Brewer in 2010 signed SB 1070 into law one of the most reprehensible and racist immigration “reform” bills to come down the pike since the Jim Crow laws were enacted throughout the South during the 19th and 20th centuries.  I’m sure that Brewer privately endorses the bill but due to pressure from both Arizona U.S. senators and the Arizona business community she will have to veto it.  In any other state, vetoing an anti-gay bill a year before it plays host to the Super Bowl would be a no-brainer.Except for Arizona Republicans, who lack even that much. 

Common sense dictates that potentially thousands of gay and lesbian football fans with their friends and family were planning buying tickets for the 2015 Super Bowl at the University of Phoenix Stadium.  You would think that Arizona Republicans would get that if it was legal to deny the gay population ANYTHING in the state based on an individual’s personal religious convictions, that a few thousand airline tickets won’t be purchased, hundreds of hotel/motel rooms and rental cars won’t be rented, thousands of extra restaurants and fast food places meals won’t be bought, thousands of souvenirs won’t be purchased, and so the lost-income dominoes will fall.  The business community doesn’t like to see millions of tourist dollars refused to be accepted and they have told Brewer that in no uncertain terms.   But Brewer, if she decides to run for governor again in 2018 after taking a state constitution-mandated four-year break, will need the support of teabaggie Republicans and so she must give the appearance of weighing a most weighty decision over the entire five-day period in which a governor must sign or veto new legislation before she vetoes it.  At least that’s how Brewer hopes it will appear to Republican voters if she decides 2018 is her comeback year.

 

The immigration law was the equivalent of the “stop-and-frisk black males” law in New York City.  It gave law enforcement the legal right to stop any motor vehicle anywhere anytime to command “Show us your papers, plees” (like the good Nazis the Brewer and the state legislature wanted Arizona law enforcement to be) for the reasonable cause of the driver and/or its inhabitants being brown-skinned.  Brewer and the Republican-controlled state legislature cared not one whit that this was in total violation of the 14th Amendment until the U.S. Supreme Court told them it was and gutted most of the act.  Law enforcement can still stop brown-skinned motor vehicle occupants at will to ask for papers but can’t do much legally after that.

I bring up SB 1070 to make a point. That was just the latest in much repressive legislation essentially written by Arizonan right-wing lobbyist groups and passed into law by Republicans.  Organizations like the Center for Arizona Policy, remarkably a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization that is “committed to promoting and defending life, marriage, and family, and religious liberty”, has been running state politics for the past ten years.  SB 1062, the anti-gay law that Brewer will most definitely have to veto, was their baby.  So, with all this repressive legislative history, why do Republicans and the Tea Party still run state politics? Why do the majority of Arizona voters keep them in power year after year? Is election fraud and voter suppression at work here?

This pattern of keeping states Red no matter how repressive and bigoted the Republican-controlled government is worries me.  Too many voters are bound and determined beyond all logic and reason to vote against their own best self-interests.  Many of my fellow liberals hope for a big Blue election year in 2014, as do I, but I won’t be surprised if we only make small yardage up the middle instead of running downfield for a touchdown.  Too many Republican-installed voter ID laws block the field and then there’s that nasty problem of rigging the vote count as in Florida 2000 and as in Ohio 2004.

It’s not a matter of seeing the glass as half-empty or half-full. I just hope there’s something in the glass for Democrats come November 5, 2014, the day after Election Day.

The Four Marx Brothers Of The Supreme Court

The four right-wing justices on the U.S. Supreme Court would be as laughable as the Four Marx Brothers if they were not sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court.

But the analogy falters somewhat when you examine it more closely because while the Marx Brothers enjoyed skewering the Establishment in their films, the four clowns ARE the Establishment. But to press on with the analogy, they’re like the Four Marx Brothers but without a Groucho since none of them possess the requisite quick wit. You’ve got two Chicos, Alito and Scalia, and the one who remains silent—Thomas–is Harpo. In fact I can hear Scalia saying to Thomas “Hey, Pinky, why you a-no a-talk all the time?” Roberts is Zeppo, the bland brother with the slicked back hair.

But now instead of causing havoc at high society balls, they’re poised to create havoc with the much maligned (we’ll get to that part later) Affordable Care Act. And this is the high level of discourse we have on today’s U.S. Supreme Court:

Justice Scalia comparing the health care market to the supermarket:

“Could you define the market — everybody has to buy food sooner or later, so you define the market as food, therefore, everybody is in the market; therefore, you can make people buy broccoli.” Can’t fully blame the Republicans for this idiocy that has brought down around the four clowns’ feet what was once a great institution; the Democrats confirmed his nomination to the Court.

If Scalia wasn’t already being absurd enough, he wasn’t done yet:

“[I]f people don’t buy cars, the price that those who do buy cars pay will have to be higher,” the Supreme Court justice said. “So you could say in order to bring the price down, you are hurting these other people by not buying a car.”

Scalia has no idea how widely he missed the point and why this is such an bad analogy. So, I’ll educate him: Everybody doesn’t need to buy a car, but everybody will at one time need health care, and all but the top 1% or 2% will not be able to pay for it out of pocket. And that is where health insurance comes in and that’s what makes Scalia incredibly stupid on this issue.

Justice Alito, not to be out-Chico-ed by Scalia, put his own “Why A Duck” absurdist spin on the hearing.

“I don’t see the difference. You can get burial insurance. You can get health insurance. Most people are going to need health care, almost everybody.  Everybody is going to be buried or cremated at some point.”

No, EVERYONE will need health care. There’s question if everybody will be buried or cremated at some point, depending on place and manner of death. In the wealthy circles that Alito runs around in, I’m sure they have insurance for everything for every wealthy everybody that he knows. But down here in the real world, if a loved one dies, we have to pony up the money for burial or cremation as best we can for their services. We pay cash, check or charge, or even make monthly payments if we can. We have bills to pay, we have food to buy, we have rent or mortgage due, we need to put food on the table. Burial insurance? That’s a luxury we can’t afford.

Healthcare insurance is a necessity because any day you can be in a auto accident, have a pain that’s a symptom of cancer, have a child with an ear infection or high fever from strep throat. Without health insurance, it’s a six-hour wait in the ER to even have a nurse bring you into the examination room.

Why a Justice? Because Bush appointed him and the Senate Democrats helped confirm him, as they did all four Marx Brothers.

You’d think Chief Justice Roberts should display more intelligence and a clearer grasp of the issue, seeing as how he’s Chief Justice and all. Think again:

“So can the government require you to buy a cell phone because that would facilitate responding when you need emergency services? You can just dial 911 no matter where you are?…You don’t know when you’re going to need police assistance. You can’t predict the extent to emergency response that you’ll need. But when you do, and the government provides it.”

Chief Justice Roberts, that’s the whole damn idea behind mandatory health insurance because you never know when you’re going to need it.

And as always, “Harpo” Thomas remains mute.

So, you don’t want the Government ordering you to carry health insurance if you’re not covered by an employer-provided health plan? OK, let’s say you’re badly injured in an auto accident and you stupidly declined medical coverage on your auto insurance policy because you were cheap. Or to make the scenario even better—you have no auto insurance at all.

So, there you are in the ER having been chauffeured there in the Fire Dept. limousine. Your injuries are so bad that you’re wheeled into surgery for a few hours, then transferred to ICU where you stay for a few days. You stabilize enough so that you’re transferred to regular bed for another two weeks’ stay. After you’re released, you undergo six months of physical therapy to further attempt to repair your body from the damage you suffered. After the six months you’ve gotten a few medical bills in the mail and you add up the grand total: $150,000 (which may be an estimate on the low end). You could have gotten a Master’s Degree at a state university for that much. Hell, you can buy a whole house on acreage for less than that these days.

OK, so how to pay.  Do you call the hospital, the anesthesiologist, the City Fire Department, the surgeons, the physical therapist, the durable medical equipment people and all the other providers and ask “Do you take Visa?” Do you try to arrange monthly payments for the rest of your life? Do you just ignore it all and allow your creditors to issue a flock of judgments against you? Or do you file for bankruptcy and let everyone else take the hit for your bills? And you know what? Under the bankruptcy reform law in 2005, it can now cost you $2000 if you hire a bankruptcy attorney. And the Chapter 7 filing fee is $299 and $274 for Chapter 13, not including the fees for mandatory bankruptcy counseling certificates.

One reason medical costs are so high is that many patients have a habit of not paying their bills. Yeah, the price of liability/malpractice insurance is sky high, but the freeloaders on the system have been instrumental in the high cost of medicine in this country.

And this is the intent of the government mandate to carry health insurance: why should I have to pay for you because you refuse to carry medical insurance? Because the less people insured, the more it costs for those who are in premiums and in cost of care. The more people splashing around in the pool, the less it costs for everyone.

So, why do 47% of the American people oppose Obamacare? Because the Republicans excel in selling lies and fear to the American people while the Obama Administration sucks at selling the truth.

You can’t even trust what might be regarded as non-right wing media. Take the very troubled and perhaps soon to disappear Yahoo.

Yahoo is trying to have it both ways. Actually, it’s something called The Week. What is The Week and who is the staff behind it? Don’t know. The byline is merely “The Week’s Editorial Staff”.  The Week staff could all work for Fox for all we know. They headlined one story: Why Is ObamaCare So Unpopular–4 Theories. The headline of a 2nd story: Why Obama Is Embracing The Term ObamaCare–4 Theories.

Why in an election year would Obama embrace a term that most people oppose? First of all, out of the four theories the story uses, 3 are right wing who oppose ObamaCare: Reason, Bloomberg Businessweek, and US News & World Report. The 4th—Slate (not exactly a progressive mag)–merely says that the Obama Admin stunk at getting the message out to offset the the unrelenting drubbing from the Repugs. In fact, if you google articles on ObamaCare, by and large you will see hits from right wing sites opposing it. No Truthout, no Huffington Post (except an article stating why most people don’t t like it), no Think Progress, no Talking Points Memo. It’s as if all progressive sites have been scrubbed from existence, as far as Google is concerned.

A New York Times/CBS poll (how corporate can you get?) says 47% oppose ObamaCare. Now, did the poll question actually include the perjorative term “ObamaCare”? The article and the poll never say. Leave it to Rachel Maddow to put it all in perspective.

http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/27/10889714-the-two-constants-in-health-care-polling

And to put this in greater perspective, Kaiser Health Tracking Poll found that when it’s explained to people that the mandate doesn’t apply to people covered by employer-provided health plans, 61% then favor Obamacare. In fact, the mandate would only apply to 2% of the population.

Funny how you don’t see this hardly at all reported in the media:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/27/us/most-americans-want-health-care-law-overturned-or-changed-poll-finds.html?_r=1&ref=politics

Most Oppose at Least Part of Overhaul, Poll Finds

Two-thirds of Americans want the Supreme Court to overturn some or all of the health care law, even though large majorities support a few of its major aspects, according to a poll by The New York Times and CBS News.

So, perhaps the 47% of Americans who oppose Obamacare isn’t really 47% at all but something a lot lower.

After 3 years of propaganda war waged by the right wing in which Obama never engaged the enemy in kind, people are now convinced that what will help them will hurt them. But when you break down different features of ObamaCare, like pre-existing conditions a thing of the post, no maximum dollar limits for payment of services, kids can stay on their parents’ plans until they’re 26, then the approval level skyrockets. People don’t like the mandate, which the Obama Admin screwed up by not comparing it to the state mandates to carry liability auto insurance–which everyone accepts—over and over again. People carry auto insurance for two reasons: they don’t have to pay out of pocket for the other guy’s damage AND they want to get paid if the other guy doesn’t have insurance.

If you don’t have auto insurance, the court fines them if you’re caught. What is the difference if you’re fined by the courts for not having health insurance? The Obama Admin has been so completely inept about conveying these simple messages. The person he chose to plead the government’s case, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, appears to be very inept at pleading the government’s case. It’s as if Obama himself weren’t personally wedded to his own legislation so much. Nah, couldn’t be.

Meanwhile, the Four Marx Brothers, being the clowns they are, sit in judgment as only they can. Scalia and Alito selling their “tootsy frootsy” ice cream analogies, Thomas throwing a “Gookie” (look it up), and Roberts trying for cleverness but not making it. For a comedy team, this performance wasn’t so funny.

Department of Justice: Home Of The Whopper

“Due process and judicial process are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security,” Holder said. “The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.”

With that statement, Attorney General Eric Holder joined the ranks of those who have made the greatest misleading or untrue statements in U.S. history.

“Saddam Hussein has chemical and biological weapons, and he is moving ever closer to developing a nuclear weapon.” – George W. Bush

“I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” – Bill Clinton

“I have earned every cent. And in all of my years of public life I have never obstructed justice. People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook. I’ve earned everything I’ve got.” – Richard M. Nixon

“I pledged in my campaign for the Presidency to end the [Vietnam] war in a way that we could win the peace. I have initiated a plan of action which will enable me to keep that pledge. The more support I can have from the American people, the sooner that pledge can be redeemed.” – Richard M. Nixon

Those are some big footprints to follow in, and Holder is no slouch when it comes to big feet. And the bigger they are, the harder their illogic reasoning falls to the ground. And this illogical reasoning is a whopper.

Let’s parse his statement. What exactly is “due process” which is guaranteed by the Constitution in both the 5th and 14th Amendments?

Here’s how it’s typically described:

  • Right to a fair and public trial conducted in a competent manner
  • Right to be present at the trial
  • Right to an impartial jury
  • Right to be heard in one’s own defense
  • Laws must be written so that a reasonable person can understand what is criminal behavior
  • Taxes may only be taken for public purposes
  • Property may be taken by the government only for public purposes
  • Owners of taken property must be fairly compensated

This seems to also describe the judicial process, mentioning a fair and public trial by impartial jury and all. But let’s find out for sure, shall we?

The Judicial Process

Article III of the Constitution of the United States guarantees that every person accused of wrongdoing has the right to a fair trial before a competent judge and a jury of one’s peers.

The Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution provide additional protections for those accused of a crime. These include:

  • A guarantee that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without the due process of law
  • Protection against being tried for the same crime twice (“double jeopardy”)
  • The right to a speedy trial by an impartial jury
  • The right to cross-examine witnesses, and to call witnesses to support their case
  • The right to legal representation
  • The right to avoid self-incrimination
  • Protection from excessive bail, excessive fines, and cruel and unusual punishments

That, folks, is straight from http://www.whitehouse.gov/our-government/judicial-branch

Check it out yourself.

So, the judicial process under the Constitution guarantees US citizens that we can’t be deprived of life and stuff without “due process of law”.  Due process under the Constitution guarantees US citizens that we have the right to a “fair and public trial” which is further expanded on by judicial process. So, in effect, the one is dependent on the other and can’t be separated.

Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer, have never studied law, and do not pretend to be the high muckety-muck Attorney General of the United States.

And what was this illogic put to use to sell to the American people? That the United States has the right to hunt down an kill any American citizen anywhere in the world that the Government deems his hostile and represents a danger to the safety and well-being of the United States. In other words, if an Anwar al-Awlaki has been paling around with Osama bin Laden planning terrorist attacks against Americans here or in foreign countries but have no legal proof that he personally carried them out, there’s no need to attempt to capture him alive, extradite him back to a federal or military courtroom, prove the charges, and then imprison or execute him.  Nope, the President, acting upon the advice of his security and military advisers can simply order “Take him out”, and one drone bomb later, al-Awlaki is history.

Now, I’m in no way arguing for leniency for avowed terrorist enemies of the United States. If I had lost friends and/or family in the 9/11 attack, or at Fort Hood or aboard an airplane, I’d take a 9mm Glock to the suspected terrorist mastermind who’s an American citizen and first kneecap him and then work my way up.  But that’s me, I’m not the United States government sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States, so help me God.

This isn’t the first hole the Obama administration has poked in the Constitution. The USA PATRIOT Act, the Military Commissions Act of 2006—which was extended by Congress and Obama, NDAA for 2012, the Espionage Act of 1917 all precede this legal opinion rendered by Holder.

The U.S. Supreme Court has already decided that the police can break down the door to your home to arrest you—based on hearsay or what they might think they overhear outside your home-without a warrant. Even if they have a warrant but that warrant is written incorrectly, as long as the police in their professional opinion think you should have been arrested, that’s just dandy with Chief Justice John Roberts and the gang. So our domestic rights under the Constitution have been steadily eroding since 2001. What the Obama administration is now enacting is the erosion of constitutionally-guaranteed rights to any American citizen at any time anywhere in the world for any reason for an indeterminate length of time. You see, you, an American citizen, can be snatched from the streets anywhere and held in some prison without ever being told why you were snatched and imprisoned. Maybe you don’t get tortured or maybe you do but the Commandant has plausible deniability over knowing about it. Maybe you’re sitting in a Pakistani café and your table explodes, or the waiter slips behind and delivers your check behind your left ear. Or you’re camping in the desert and a drone bomber flies overhead and rains bombs on your picnic.

Yes, realistically speaking, almost none of us will ever experience these scenarios. But this erosion of personal and civil rights has been a common tactic in every country where the democratically-elected government was overthrown and the people subjected to tyrannical rule. I don’t believe that President Obama is a tyrannical dictator—but this is the way it starts too often, with the slow erosion of basic rights with the acquiescence of a people kept so frightened by the enemy boogeyman held up to them by their government they’ll agree to anything to feel safe and protected by that same government.

Eric Holder is wrong, and not nearly enough people in the media are saying so. I would have expected this type of specious argument from Republican Alberto Gonzales, the 2nd Attorney General under Republican President George W. Bush. But not an A.G. under the Democratic President Barack Obama. When the Democrats start to resemble the Republicans, it reminds one of the famous Zen koan, “What is the sound of one political party running America?”

Abolishing The Electoral College

I want to share with you an email exchange I engaged in with one of my Republican state representatives, who I will keep anonymous. I had forwarded a petition from National Popular Vote (nationalpopularvote.com) asking for this person’s support in urging Congress to pass a Constitutional amendment abolishing the Electoral College. The proposed amendment would mandate that the president and vice-president by elected by direct national popular vote—the concept of one person, one vote finally realized. I’ll start off with my rep’s reply, and my response. Notice how I start off with a bit of schmoozing before going in for the kill.

Rep’s response: ” Rick..please really investigate this further, as it is far more difficult and dangerous to our republic then you would might think.”

My response:

“First, I greatly appreciate how quickly you respond to petitions and emails from your constituents.

I’m very well read on the issues, and I strongly disagree with you on this.  The Electoral College was created in a bygone era where the average voter was condescendingly looked upon with suspicion by what I think were an elitist and wealthy subgroup of the founding fathers, led by Alexander Hamilton.  Hamilton, being from the mercantile set, didn’t trust country bumpkins, including landowners and farmers, to make intelligent, informed votes for president, so he championed designating representatives to cast votes to elect a president for them.  In fact, here’s a quote supporting the E.C. by Alexander Hamilton in 1788: “It was … desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the … A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.”

Thomas Jefferson didn’t agree with him back then, and I and the majority of Americans don’t agree with him now. This is an archaic system which must be abolished. Along with it would go the whole concept of “swing states” in which a small group of states is more politically powerful than others, with other states having no real political power at all.

Yes, getting rid of the E.C. will be difficult, but I don’t understand your contention that getting rid it would be “dangerous”.  Not to be offensive, but that philosophy is typically voiced by the more politically conservative who also have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Remember that a delegate to the Electoral College is not legally committed to vote for the candidate who won their state. Obama could win Pennsylvania but the electoral college delegates could still vote for Romney if they wished to, and vice versa. So why would I support a system where my vote may not count for anything and is subject to the whims of anonymous persons meeting in Washington, D.C. over a month after the presidential election has been decided? Didn’t the 2000 election demonstrate the folly of the whole electoral college system? I know you’re a Republican, but Al Gore won the popular national vote in that election–that’s fact, that’s history.  It was through the machinations of the Supreme Court and the Electoral College that Bush was appointed President. You can argue that point too, but again, that’s fact, that’s history.

As Operation Wall Street as demonstrated, the majority of Americans say that the time for ‘business as usual’ is past; most Americans also support abolishing the Electoral College.  You can oppose progress but you do so at the risk of being swept aside by it.”

The time may not have come for the end of the Electoral College, but by the responses from our elected representatives to this issue, we can see who’s time has gone and vote in the next election accordingly.

Stupid Is As Stupid Runs (For President)

Upon reading Thomas Frank’s “The Wrecking Crew” it becomes crystal clear why the current slate of Republican candidates—with the exceptions of Jon Huntsman and Newt Gingrich—are either politically incompetent, stupid, or both.  It all started with the election of Ronald Reagan, a moderately intelligent fellow, as President. He had been told he had won the lead in a new TV show about the White House called “The West Wing”–18 years before the show was actually brought to TV by Aaron Sorkin.  All the Republicans needed to do was surround him with professional political operatives and D.C. insiders and he was a lock for eight years.

Then the Republicans made the fatal error of getting a real brainiac professional political operative and D.C. insider, George H.W. Bush, elected President but he crashed and burned after just one term and was followed by a pseudo-Democratic president into office.  The Republicans said, “Whoa, we’ll never do THAT again!” and set about looking for a suitably stupid political incompetent who they could surround with professional political operatives and D.C. insiders. Voila–George W. Bush.  Along the way they learned how to steal elections by rigging state election results in Florida in 2000 and then getting their hand-picked  U.S. Supreme Court justices majority to appoint their candidate President. Refining the election rigging techniques they learned in 2000, they perfected it in Oho in 2004 to retain Bush in office. Boom—eight years of Georgie boy and the process was patented.

As Ronald Reagan once said from a line written for him, “The best minds are not in government.  If any were, business would steal them away.” And therein lies the core Republican philosophy of governing: you install incompetents and partisan shills in all agency and department head positions on down to the lowest filing clerk and janitor. (And President Newt Gingrich would give those graveyard shift janitor jobs to elementary school children).  In order to get a job in the Reagan administration, you only needed to do two things: wear a “I’m a neo-conny for Ronnie” button, and send your resume through the Koch-owned Heritage Foundation.  As Lyn Nofziger, Reagan’s political affairs director said in 1981, “We have told members of the Cabinet we expect them to help us place people who are competent.  As far as we are concerned, anyone who supported Reagan is competent.”

Young Grover Norquist was more overtly partisan when he said in 1984: “First, we want to remove liberal personnel form the political process. Then we want to capture those positions of power and influence for conservatives.” So, no liberals allowed at all in government, no matter how well they did their jobs.

In 2007 under the George W. Bush Administration, Monica Goodling, fresh out of Pat Robertson Regent University Law School, was installed into the Justice Department and helped fire nine highly experienced U.S. attorneys and blocked other federal hires purely on the basis that they weren’t Bush “men” (or women), so to speak. In fact, anyone who displayed the slightest tendency towards competency was banished to “the hall of zombies” where, according to Hugh Kaufman of the Environmental Protection Agency, “…you’re at a desk, and you don’t do anything of substance. Most of the career bureaucrats in Washington in [the Bush] administration are in the hall of zombies.”  Fills you full of confidence in your federal government, don’t it?

You see, Republicans like ‘em partisan and stupid because experienced, competent people in government get things done, which makes the populace like their government getting things done. And Republicans don’t like government getting things done.   This explains why Michael Powell, son of Colin, was promoted by G.W. Bush to chairman of the FCC, and why Michael Brown, a lawyer and ex-Judges and Stewards Commissioner for the International Arabian Horse Association, was also placed in charge by Bush of FEMA.  Brown was forced out of his job with the IAHA and we all know he resigned in ignominy from FEMA for his incompetence in handling aid and assistance to Hurricane Katrina victims in 2005.  Hmmm, Michael Powell also resigned in 2005 and fell out of the FCC (eventually) into the waiting arms of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association as their president.  Wonder if some underground mass RNC communication was sent to all Bush administration agency heads saying, “The jig is up! Amscray!”

The title of of a 1928 article that appeared in Nation’s Business, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce magazine said it all: “A Plea for Inefficiency in Government”.  If you keep government dumbed down, that opens the door to outsourcing and privatizing federal services to the private sector, which means big profits for the private sector. Big profits for the private sector is what makes the Republican world go ‘round. This is why Paul Ryan and his handlers want to privatize the Social Security and Medicare programs. This is why Ron Paul wants to eliminate all federal health insurance programs so that you either pay to play or you die.  This is why Rick Perry wants to privatize all oil drilling because it would make big profits for the oil companies who keep him in the Texas governor’s chair. Of course none of this explains Herman Cain’s or Michele Bachmann’s stands on the issues because even they don’t understand what they stand for if it hasn’t been explained to them.  Even Huntsman appears to be throwing in a couple of “er’s” and “uh’s” before he speaks in an effort to dumb himself down in the eyes of the Republican National Committee.

The Republicans had a real problem with Barack Obama because here was a Democrat who was extremely politically competent and intelligent. So, they adapted their primary play and used Fox to frame Obama as one of their own–politically incompetent and stupid. However, this made him qualified to be President until they threw in he was also a Democrat AND a native of Kenya AND a communist socialist which immediately disqualified him and made him the illegally-elected President of the United States (as opposed to George W. Bush who had been the legally appointed President of the United States).

So, there you have it, the reason why the Republican candidates appear to be so abysmally lame and stupid. In some cases, their images are being carefully crafted for them. In others, they’re self-made men (and woman).